Richard William Timm

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Richard William Timm
Richard William Timm with Sister Merry Lillian at CORR- The Jute Works (2012).JPG
Timm with Merry Lillian at CORR - The Jute Works (2012)
Born (1923-03-02) March 2, 1923 (age 94)
Michigan City, Indiana, United States
Awards Ramon Magsaysay Award

Richard William Timm, CSC, also known as Father Timm or Fr. Timm, is an educator, a zoologist, and an active participant on the works on social development. He is the Superior of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Dhaka. He is also one of the founders of Notre Dame College in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was the 6th principal (1970 to 1972) of Notre Dame College.

Born under German ancestry from both sides on March 2, 1923, in Michigan City, Indiana, USA, Timm is the second among the four siblings – Elder Brother Bob, who died on Okinawa in World War II, and younger sisters Mary Jo Schiel and Genevieve Gantner.

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Timm was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1987 for International Understanding.

In response to his activities for development, Timm was honored with the citizenship from three different governments.

Among the many varieties of Nematodes he discovered, the Marine Nematode Timmia parva was named after Timm himself.

Research works[edit]

Timm, as a Biologist, conducted exclusive surveys on Nematodes and discovered over 250 new species.

Timm’s scientific expeditions involved a landscape spanning from Antarctica Penguin Colonies to the Mangrove of South Asia. Many of his expeditions were confined in the area of the Sundarbans and other parts of South Asia but he covered many other parts of the world as well. His other expeditions include Africa, Europe, Antarctica and The Americas.

Scientific discoveries[edit]

The Following are among the many discoveries of Timm.

  • Timmia parva – marine nematode.
  • Two varieties of Aphelenchoides – marine nematodes with Dr. Mary Franklyn
  • Imponema, Filiponema and Plutellonema – three new genera of earth nematodes with Dr. Armand Maggenti
  • Two varieties of Megadontolaimus – a marine nematode genus from Cox's Bazaar.

Works in spreading education[edit]

Since 1952, Timm has been working in the education sector of Bangladesh. He is a recognized person for the operations of Notre Dame College, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Founded in November 1949, the college is still carrying on with its reputation and quality and is one of the best educational institutions in Bangladesh by the official ranking. He also took the responsibility of the Principal of Notre Dame College for the term 1970-71 and worked as the Director of Studies as well. He is still connected with the college though not taking part in academic activities. He is also the founder of the Science Departments in Notre Dame College and the pioneer for the club activities. He is also the founder of Notre Dame Science Club which is the first science club in Bangladesh.

The Textbook of College Biology is a writing of Timm that served as a textbook for East Pakistani – Bangladeshi schools for many years. This text is actually an extension of a book by A. Bhuya of Dhaka Government College but not much of the original version was preserved in the extension. A Laboratory Manual for College Biology was a predecessor for the text, though didn’t have the popularity due to the comparatively higher price.

Social development activities[edit]

Timm is called[by whom?] as the Father of NGO (Non government organizations. mainly for development) in Bangladesh. His activities served as the initiating force for the Association of Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB), the Coordinator Council for Human Rights in Bangladesh (CCHRB) and South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR). Right now he is a consultant for Caritas Bangladesh and a board member for several Caritas project as well as the projects of other NGOs.

Activities during the Liberation War of Bangladesh[edit]

Activities during the War[edit]

Timm expressed his opinion about the incidents and against the genocide on the liberation war of Bangladesh through his writing. He emphasized the difficult situations on civilians and the violation of human rights. His letters written to Rohde served to build public opinion around the world and especially in USA against the war in Bangladesh.

He also conducted relief works for the distressed at the time of the war.[1]

Activities on Reconstruction[edit]

After the liberation war of Bangladesh, Timm Actively took part in the newborn country’s reconstruction work together with the UN, USAID, CORR (The Christian Organization for Relief and Rehabilitation, later Caritas) and CRS. The rehabilitation effort was conducted among the homeless and those who have lost all in the war.

Disaster response[edit]

On November 12, 1970, a great cyclone struck the coastal areas of East Pakistan and killed at least 50,000 people. Timm, assisted by the students of Notre Dame College, CORR (The Christian Organization for Relief and Rehabilitation, later Caritas) and HELP (Heartland Emergency Life-Saving Project), conducted several relief expeditions in the affected areas. The response was among the biggest of those taken by Non-government people.

On other disasters, including the great flood of 1998, Notre Dame College and Caritas both participated in the relief effort both in and out of Dhaka City under the participation and influence of Timm.


Despite his well-earned reputation, Timm was numerously accused by some newspapers as being the chief of CIA in Bangladesh. The accusation, however, was never proved and was never found to be based on solid facts.


Timm’s publications include numerous research papers and books.


  • “Forty Years in Bangladesh: Memoirs of Father Timm” published by Caritas in 1995.
  • “The Plant-Parasitic Nematodes of Thailand and The Philippines” published by SEATO in 1965

See also[edit]


External links[edit]